As one of the great philosopher of our time wisely said “You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” Confronted with the 17-25km course split at the Double Rainbow event these wise words were front of mind. Once again, I’d managed to score myself a discounted entry to an event with my Wild Things VIP membership. This time it was for Lactic Turkey’s Double Rainbow Event, which offers a marathon, 25, 17, 10 kilometre options, along with 4km and 2km kids options. The feature differentiating each distance is the number of times you’d have to run the 320m up and over Rainbow Mountain just south of Rotorua – four times for the marathon, twice for 25km, once for 17km, and everyone else just looked at the damned thing.
Twice would be enough for me, so the plan would be the 25km distance thank you. To make it a family affair we entered Amber and Sophie in to the under 7 2km race, with George running in support. Of course, with Amber 6 going on 18 she flip flopped on whether she would even run or not. But the promise of chocolate at the end won here over finally. Women, am I right?
The day dawned cold, very cold, with the temperature hitting 1 deg on the way out for a civilized 10am start. Thankfully it was warmer at the event base at 2 deg with a thick layer of fog obscuring Rainbow Mt itself. Shaun assured us that it would be much clearer at the top of the mountain, so off we went to find out. First across farm land and then into the ‘Rainbow Unicorn Forest’ toward the base of the mountain.
This first 9km of hard packed trails and dirt farm roads gave me a chance to test out my new Icebug DTS4 shoes for the first time. With DTS standing for Distance Training Shoe, these guys have a bit more cushioning than other Icebugs so were perfect for the harder stuff. While not as aggressive on the sole as other bugs, there was still enough grip on the clay sections to keep me from losing ground (or gaining too much on the down). (I’ll do a bit more of a review on these once I have more km in them.)
Hitting the base of the mountain I was in last place (but then it was a field of only 62) and had been caught by the first half of the 17km’ers. It was a good solid climb with us passing through the cloud layer to break out into a stunning (still cold) day at the top. However, my hip started to give me grief again causing me to lose a bit of the stoke, and question if I’d be able to make it back around for another summit.
The aid station at the top was a welcome sight with the friendly face of Gareth, and then there was the view. In every direction there were little islands of mountains popping out of the cloud. It was hard not to stay and stuff in jet planes while taking in the view and sun. But alas I had to push on back down the mountain to the course split and the decision I knew I’d have to make when I got there.
On the way nothing really changed and I made the call to, for the first time, not complete the distance I’d started and rather drop to the shorter 17km distance. Quickly doing the maths, I realized that if I could push a bit I might be able to intercept the girls who would just starting soon. While I was super lucky that they were prepared to wait for me, returning soon would be better and this sealed the deal for dropping down.
Jogging and speed walking I re-joined the lake loop just as George and Sophie rocked up. Amber had long left them behind to run out on her own for the win. Sophie had pretty much had enough at this point, so for the last 800m I had a 3-year-old on my shoulders. Passing under the finishing rainbow, we found Amber, as expected, at the bucket of Crunchie bars. Sophie joined her, while I beelined for the Kereru beers and the guava weisse I’d been dying to try. Then we hit the hotdogs and soup on offer to refuel and warm up a little.
So, while this year’s Double Rainbow turned into a single rainbow for me, it was still an enjoyable event for the whole family. I fully intend to return and bag me a double rainbow. Now to just work out this damn uphill hip issue.